Resisting and Evading Arrest

If you knowingly try to avoid arrest or flee from a police officer, you can be charged with resisting or evading arrest. In some states, these crimes can be charged as anything from a class A misdemeanor to a second degree felony. It is important to understand the broad definitions of these crimes so that you do not accidentally resist or evade arrest.

First, resisting includes preventing the arrest, search, or transportation of a criminal. Normally, this crime constitutes a class A misdemeanor in most states. Examples of resisting arrest include threatening the arresting officer, struggling against an officer who is attempting to arrest you, or assaulting the arresting officer. However, if you resist arrest by fending off officers of the peace with a deadly weapon such as a gun, you can be charged with a third degree felony.

Next, evading arrest includes some overlap with resisting arrest, but this crime typically involves greater attempts to flee from the police. Simply running away from an arrest is a class B misdemeanor, but these charges can quickly escalate if the chase involves vehicles or if someone gets hurt in the to avoid arrest 

If the person runs away in a motor vehicle, it is a state jail felony under many states’ laws. However, this crime can be upgraded. It can be a third degree felony if the law enforcement officials hurt anyone else while chasing you, or if you have already been charged with evading arrest in the past. Should the law enforcement officers accidentally cause a bystander’s death while chasing you, your crime can be considered a second degree felony.

Although resisting arrest and evading arrest seem like similar crimes, you can be charged with both of them. This can land you in jail as well as permanently affect your legal record.